Articles - Parenting

The Dangers of Child-Centered Parenting

When there is harmony in the husband/wife relationship, there is an infused stability within the family. A strong marriage provides a haven of security for children as they grow in the nurturing process.

Unfortunately parents sometimes leave their first love for each other and focus (often exclusively) on the children. Although this may be done in the name of good parenting it can be the first step to the break up of family relationships.

This leads to the second threat to successful parenting - the belief that children are the centre of the family universe rather than welcome members of it.

This child-centred parenting style often leads to the child's feelings being elevated above his or her right and wrong actions. This style of parenting often tries to shelter the child against disappointments and panders to each and every desire of the child.

Child-centred parenting can attack the husband-wife relationship, reverse the natural process of moral development by prematurely creating a false sense of self-reliance, foster family independence rather than family interdependence and create a subtle form of idolatry.

A strong parent relationship creates a sense of certainty in the mind of a child and establishes confidence. The child is emotionally free to get on with his or her life.

A risk with child-centred parenting is that the child needs to take on age-inappropriate emotional responsibility and a sense of filling the parent's needs rather than vice versa, which creates apprehension and insecurity.

Child-centred parenting becomes the grounds for all sorts of over-indulgent child rearing practices where the tune is 'pleasant feelings are good and unpleasant feelings are bad and to be avoided at all costs'. Parents are afraid that their child may become overstressed by reasonable demands or disappointments - stop a child crying by giving them whatever they want or buy a child out of a tantrum.

Child-centred parenting is characterised by an overwhelming fear of holding a child accountable for his or her behaviour, of putting limits on actions and setting boundaries. When the child is disobedient, excuses are made rather than consequences given. Obedience, respect and honour are not considered a priority in this family. The child develops a contempt for their parents that explodes in adolescence.

Our aim in parenting is to equip our children emotionally, intellectually, physically and morally to enter life outside the watchful eye of mum and dad. We are aiming to reach the hearts of our children and to teach them about the love and discipline of God in order for them to accept Christ and become part of his family.

Child-centred parenting creates an attitude of me-ism but healthy families produce children with a we-ism attitude. These children become others centred - playing for the success of the team/family rather than themselves.



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